The youngest competitors stood their grounds in the Southeast Asian Sports Championship (SEA-AC) in e-racing to deliver a silver “podium” for Team Philippines last Sunday.
Baguio car racing sensation Iñigo Anton and partner Axel Nocom had steel nerves to beat more experienced virtual racers from other parts of the SEA region which served as a warm up for the Baguio boy’s dream race against the world’s top car racer – newly crowned Formula 1’s Max Verstappen of Red Bull this weekend.
The recently crowned Golden Wheel Anton finished in P3, while the latter in P9 in the team championship where they edged elite sim racers Fadhli Rachmat and Andika Rahmat Maulana of Indonesia to take second place behind Team Malaysia anchored by the Azlan siblings – Naquib and Nabil. The Indonesian finished third.
For their feat, the Philippine duo took home USD1,800 from the USD10,000 pot money.
Sim racers from Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Sultanate of Brunei finished fourth to seventh, in that order.
SEA EC 2022 is a precursor to the 31st SEA Games which will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2022.
After winning the Golden Wheel award in December last year for ruling the Philippine Autocross Championship Series (PACS), the young Anton is currently preparing for an even bigger race – a global stage. He is part of team Axle Sports, which is the only Southeast Asian team that is competing in the premier Endurance Sports Championship in the world- the Le Mans Virtual Series.
Anton will be the only Filipino taking part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual where he will try to outrace Verstappen of Belgium, who sneaked past seven time winner Lewis Hamilton in the last lap of the last stage to snatch the crown in what could be the most dramatic – and controversial – win in the race’s history.
Also seeing action in one of the most famous races staged in France are former F1 driver Juan Pablo Montoya and IndyCar Champion Alex Palou. The 50-car gird will be filled with pro Formula 1, GT, IndyCar and Touring car stars, racing alongside the best sim drivers in the world.
“Our team boss, Alex Yoong, our race engineer and our whole team have been preparing hard for the 24 hour of Le Mans Virtual and we are super excited to be racing with the world champions of both real life and sim racing. We hope to finish in the top ten and we will do our best to represent the region,” Anton said.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual finale will held this weekend, January 15 -16, with half of the entire US$250,000 prize fund available for the 24 hour standalone race.